Season premieres are a tricky business, but this one certainly gets the job done.
With all the hype over Jon Snow’s status, it’s a bit frustrating that the premiere doesn’t give a clear picture of what happens next. Nevertheless, it’s an effective slow burn as Davos discovers Jon’s body and turns to Melisandre to help. I’ve always been a huge fan of Davos; Liam Cunningham has delivered stellar work thus far, so I’m glad he gets to take the lead in this storyline and continue his journey after Stannis’ death.
After chasing the Stark girls for seasons on end, it’s oh so satisfying to finally see Brienne stand by Sansa’s side. Watching her save Sansa and Reek from Ramsay’s forces was a blood-pumping sequence, perfectly punctuated by her exchanging the oath with Sansa (in a gorgeous parallel to the Catelyn scene in season two). That’s the beauty with Game of Thrones: storylines are paid off seasons later and it’s absolutely awesome.
Just when you thought Cersei couldn’t handle any more misery, we get the heartbreaking scene of an excited Cersei running to welcome her daughter with open arms only to realize that she didn’t make it. Lena Headey continues to impress the hell out of me, and the ice queen’s new vulnerable side is a particular delight. But the highlight for me is Jaime announcing to Cersei that the Lannisters would get their revenge. It gave me chills.
One complaint I had about Dany last year is that I never really feared for her safety; she was so darn protected all the time. This year everything changes as we go back to the beginning with her in Dothraki captivity. All the rape threats really make you fear for the Dragon Queen’s safety, but they also let her think on her feet and showcase how resourceful she can be. I love that she pretends not to understand Dothraki (much like she pretended to be oblivious in season three), and then reveals her link to the Dothraki at just the right moment (when the Khal threatens to take her). Sadly her adventure is not over and she’s ordered to spend the rest of her life with the other widows. Somehow I feel like Dany won’t take no for an answer.
The Red Woman also offers intriguing insight into Melisandre’s psyche. After Stannis’ defeat, she’s completely lost faith in herself. The final scene is a true stunner, with her despondently taking off her necklace and showing her true appearance: a VERY old lady (perhaps a few hundred years?). Coupled with the ominous musical score, this scene is a real bombshell to bookend the hour. More please!
Bits & Beheadings
– Uber creepy tracking shot from outside Castle Black all the way to Jon’s body. Notice Ghost howling in the distance because he can feel his master is dead. So haunting.
– The fact that Alliser admits so brazenly to killing Snow is just crazy.
– Only Ramsay can mourn a woman he loved by professing his love only to order that her body be fed to the hounds. #Romance.
– Podrick sure learned to fight fast didn’t he? A bit unbelievable if you ask me.
– Loved Cersei mentioning the witch and her prophecy – after all, she predicted her children would die.
– Septa is still abusing Margaery. God I hate her.
– The scene with Ellaria killing Doran as Tyene kills Hotah is probably the most exciting thing to happen in Dorne since this whole storyline began. I’m starting to get optimistic.
– Brutal scene with Prince Trystane getting stabbed through the face on the boat. Ouch.
– I laughed when Tyrion accidentally told a beggar he wanted to eat her baby.
– And here we meet another Red Priest – a man this time. Interesting.
– Somehow I feel like Dany’s fleet getting set on fire is a stalling tactic so that the writers can keep Dany away from King’s Landing a little bit longer. Not cool!
– A bit ridiculous how Jorah and Daario found Dany’s ring right?
– How disgusting were the Dothraki men discussing Dany’s “white pussy”? It just makes you root for Dany to burn them all so much more.
– Arya is now blind on the streets getting periodically beaten by the Waif. Does her misery ever end?
– It’s funny that Davos suddenly believes in Melisandre after being her biggest critic for so long.
Kings & Quips
Jaime: Fuck prophecy. Fuck fate. Fuck everyone who isn’t us. We’re the only ones who matter, the only ones in this world. And everything they’ve taken from us, we’re going to take back and more. We’re going to take everything there is.
Tyrion: We’re never going to fix what’s wrong with this city from the top of an 800-foot pyramid. We’ll be fine. We’re dressed like common merchants.
Varys: You walk like a rich person.
Tyrion: You’ve spent a lot of time studying the way rich people walk?
Varys: You walk as though the paving stones were your personal property. I used to steal from people like you when I was a boy.
Tyrion: It’s a good thing you’re not a boy anymore. Because you have no cock.
Daario: Perhaps she’s tired of being queen. I don’t think she likes it very much.
Jorah: She’s too smart to like it.
Daario: Maybe she’s flown somewhere else, somewhere far away from men like us.
Jorah: I’ve been all over the world. There’s no escaping men like us.
Daario: There’s no escaping her, eh? You keep coming back. Why?
Jorah: You know why.
Daario: Isn’t it frustrating wanting someone who doesn’t want you back?
Jorah: Of course it is.
Daario: You’re a romantic. I admire that. Sometimes I look at you and I think, “So that’s what I’ll be like when I grow old.”
Jorah: If you grow old.
Daario: If I grow old. I hope I do. I want to see what the world looks like when she’s done conquering it.
Jorah: So do I.
Davos: There’s always the Red Woman.
Tormund: What’s one redhead gonna do against 40 armed men?
Davos: You haven’t seen her do what I’ve seen her do.
A wonderfully effective season premiere. The Jon Snow material is a bit slow, but everything else is taking shape beautifully.